DOJ Indicts Alleged Dish Signal Pirates

Describes complex scheme to defraud satellite operator
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A trio of Puerto Rican men are being indicted in a scheme to supply pirated Dish network programming to thousands of Puerto Ricans, essentially setting up their own program distribution system for Dish content but collected all the money themselves.

That is according to Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski, who said three-count federal indictments had been unsealed against Arnaldo Vazquez, 41, aka “Naldo,” aka “naldo.dish;” Awildo Jimenez, 36, aka “Wildo,” “joselo626,” and “wildo20;” and Higinio Lamboy, 46, aka “Ingi."

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They were charged with 1) "conspiracy to circumvent protective systems, infringe copyrights and traffic in satellite decryption"; 2) "trafficking in technology designed to circumvent technology copyright protection systems"; and 3) "circumventing a technological measure that protects a copyrighted work."

Related: Attorney General Jeff Sessions Launches Crackdown on Chinese IP Theft

The three supplied the hardware and pirated signals and charged subs on a monthly basis, managing to decrypt and distribute the encrypted signals.

DOJ points out that an indictment is only an allegation, but DOJ described an elaborate scheme: "For example, the indictment alleges that the defendants used Dish’s network control words, or decrypted code, and placed them onto an Internet Key Sharing (IKS) server, which was under their control," said DOJ. "Placing the control words on the IKS server aided the decryption and distribution of the pirated content. The defendants also provided their customers with receivers that were programmed with software that allowed them to bypass Dish’s anti-piracy measures, which then allowed their customers to connect to the conspirators’ bootleg IKS server to access the copyrighted content."

Cracking down on IP theft and protecting U.S. goods, digital and otherwise, has been a talking point with the Trump Administration.

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